Food Allergies and Anaphylaxis in School: What School Staff Need to Know

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1 Food Allergies and Anaphylaxis in School: What School Staff Need to Know

2 What is an Allergy? When the body s immune system wrongly identifies an otherwise harmless substance (an allergen) as harmful.

3 What is an Allergen? O Allergens are substances that cause an overreaction of the body s defense mechanisms O Allergens may be: O Inhaled (pollen, dust, molds, fumes) O Touched (soap, plants) O Injected (insect venom, medicines) O Eaten (food and medicines)

4 The Major 8 Food Allergens O Milk O Eggs O Peanut O Tree nut O Fish O Shell fish O Soy O Wheat These make up 90% of all food allergies in the United States

5 Symptoms O Swelling or redness O Hives O Watery or swollen eyes O Nausea and vomiting O Cough and scratchy throat O Difficulty breathing O Changes in voice or cry O Anxiety O Dizziness and faintness O Unconsciousness These symptoms can range from mild to severe, they can occur very suddenly or gradually

6 Food Allergy Facts O Anaphylaxis (anaphylaxis shock): an allergic reaction in which the release of histamines causes extreme symptoms including: swelling, difficulty breathing, heart failure, sometimes death

7 Other Causes of Anaphylaxis O Stinging insects O Latex O Medication O Exercise O Environmental triggers O Cold environment O Unknown reason *Discuss appropriate management with your school nurses

8 Treatment Options O Remove the child from contact with known or suspected allergen O Refer to their plan of care for directions O Give medications as directed (antihistamines or epinephrine injection) O Monitor for symptoms O Notify parents as noted in the care plan

9 Children s Descriptions of Reactions O Complains of tongue: hot, tingling, burning, itching or feeling funny, full or heavy O Feels like: O there is a frog in my throat O bump on the back of my tongue O lips feel tight O bugs in ears O Something poking my tongue

10 Call 911 for any of the following O Sudden or increasingly severe O swelling and/or hives O abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting O difficulty breathing or speaking

11 Key Points about Food Allergy Reactions O 1 st time allergic reactions can happen in school O Fatal or near-fatal reactions are rare but do occur O 40 deaths annually from insect stings O 200 deaths annually from allergic responses to food O 3-5% of children under 6 and 2-2 ½% of adults have food allergies O Early recognition and treatment of anaphylaxis can be life saving

12 Label Reading is Key O Each label on food should be read every time O Ingredients in products can change without warning O Understanding labeling laws and their limitations is important

13 Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act: O Exceptions: O Foods that do not need clear labeling O Any food not regulated by the FDA O Includes most meats, poultry, certain egg products and most alcoholic beverages O Any other foods not in the major 8, such as: O Sesame or other seeds O Molluscan shellfish (oysters, clams, mussels, scallops and others) O Gluten (except for wheat) O Barley, rye, or oats (hidden in malt, dextrins, flavors)

14 Avoid products with advisory labeling for allergen of concern O Statements (numerous formats and no regulation) O may contain O processed in a facility that O manufactured on shared equipment with O Etc.

15 Hidden Ingredients O Not an obvious component of food O Just looking at the food is not enough to tell if an allergen is in it O If there is an item that does not have a label, it is safest to avoid eating it

16 Food Sources in Non-Edible Items O Finger paint: milk or egg whites O Shaving cream: milk O Paste: wheat O Play dough: wheat O Bean bags: beans, nuts or seeds

17 High Risk Situations O Outside food in schools (birthdays, celebrations, cultural days, bake sales, etc.) O Breaks in school routine and field trips O School bus and transportation O Transitions in care and substitute staff

18 For More Information O The Food Allergy Network: O American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology: O American Academy of Pediatrics:

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